A cargo ship loaded with soybeans from Brazil prepares to unload at Yangpu Port in Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Danzhou, south China’s Hainan Province, July 2022. Photo: Xinhua
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will pay a state visit to China from March 26 to 31. According to Reuters, the Brazilian president will be accompanied by a delegation of 240 business representatives, including 90 from the agricultural sector. Brazil’s Trade Promotion Secretary Daniel Fernandes was quoted as saying that all government ministries will be represented during the trip. Such a huge delegation in itself reflects the Brazilian side’s strong interest in expanding cooperation with China. But such strong interest and the enormous potential for greater China-Brazil cooperation has apparently also angered some in the US with a hegemonic mindset who do not want to see closer China-Brazil ties. Since Lula was re-elected as Brazil’s president, many Western media and think tanks have made some discordant noises in an obvious attempt to disrupt and discredit China-Brazil cooperation.
“Lula can’t just count on China this time,” argued an article published in January by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank. Before Lula’s planned visit to China, some Western media also tried to complicate Brazil’s relationship with China. For example, Diplomat magazine published an article on Saturday claiming that “the potential China-Uruguay trade deal risks breaking up Mercosur,” a trade bloc among some South American countries, also known as the Southern Common Market.
Needless to say, such attempts will not change the general trend of growing economic and trade cooperation between China and Brazil, which is the natural result of strong economic complementarity between the two countries.
Like China, Brazil’s primary strategy is to promote economic and social development. Brazil’s finance ministry on Friday cut its estimates for economic growth this year, citing the impact of higher base rates on activity and credit. The cooperation between the two countries is particularly crucial given such a trying time of global economic uncertainty. It is imperative for the two countries to ignore noise from the West and focus on leveraging their complementarity to enhance cooperation and economic competitiveness.
Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy over the past three years, the trade relationship between China and Brazil has achieved new breakthroughs. Bilateral trade has exceeded $100 billion for five consecutive years, and China has remained Brazil’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. In 2022, Brazilian exports to China amounted to $89.43 billion, accounting for 26.8 percent of the country’s total, according to official Brazilian figures. Brazil is also China’s largest investment destination in Latin America.
Lula, who took office as Brazil’s new leader on January 1, has had a long career in Brazilian politics. As then president of Brazil, Lula visited China in 2004. He led a large delegation of cabinet ministers, state governors and business leaders to China in an effort to forge closer ties with the world’s second-largest economy. Just five years after that trip, China reportedly surpassed the United States as Brazil’s largest trading partner. Hopefully, Lula’s visit this time will once again push China-Brazil economic relations to a new height.
The deepening economic and trade partnership between China and Brazil has driven the development of Brazil’s agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology, e-commerce and other fields, greatly contributing to Brazil’s economic growth. To develop the potential of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, China and Brazil are working together to further promote investment facilitation measures, jointly shape the security environment of the industrial chain and supply chain, strengthen sustainable development capacity, and implement practical cooperation in key industries.
It is important to note that China has attached great importance to bilateral economic cooperation with Brazil, Uruguay and all the members of the Southern Common Market. It should be pointed out that the strengthening of bilateral economic and trade relations is conducive to promoting overall cooperation in the Southern Common Market.
Predictably, some Western powers want to see friction between China and Brazil, but those powers will be deeply disappointed by the outcome. China’s win-win cooperation with countries like Brazil will only increase. Peace and development will prevail.